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Spacefaring bacteria in the spotlight

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “If bacteria band together, they can survive for years in space,” which describes an experiment on the International Space Station that suggests microbes are capable of surviving interplanetary travel. A version of the story, “Bacteria can survive for years in space,” can be found in the September 26, 2020 issue of Science News.

Chemicals cue behavior

Students will explore the chemical makeup of pheromones, how the chemicals may cue species behavior and why it’s important for scientists to study such information. Students will answer questions related to the pheromone discussed in the Science News article before applying the same questions to a pheromone of their choice.

The science of locust swarms

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A single molecule may entice normally solitary locusts to form massive swarms,” which describes a compound used in locust congregation that might also be used to control the pests. A version of the story, “Chemical coaxes locusts to swarm,” can be found in the September 12, 2020 issue of Science News.

Taking notes and creating visual summaries

This activity asks students to practice two literacy skills: note-taking and summarizing. Note-taking helps students identify and remember important information, enhancing comprehension as they read. Creating a visual summary encourages students to consolidate and communicate key information.

Taking a bacterial census

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Here’s where bacteria live on your tongue cells,” which maps how bacteria build communities on human cells. A version of the story, “Where bacteria live on our tongues,” can be found in the April 25, 2020 issue of Science News.

Ecological relationship status

Students will use their knowledge of interspecific interactions to explore bacterial communities on human tongue cells. Then, students will apply those concepts to create metaphors for relationships in their own community.

The truth about bats and viruses

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Why bat viruses are so dangerous,” which explores how the animals’ immune defenses might lead to killer human pathogens.

The difficult path to diagnosis

Doctors often have to diagnose an injury or disease based on incomplete information. In this discussion, students will explore how symptoms and other biological information — including protein biomarkers in particular — can help doctors identify a problem and recommend a treatment.

Searching for concussion clues

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Concussion leaves clues in the blood,” which examines the search for a better way to diagnose concussions.

Fungi are the next green chemistry champs

Students will answer questions based on the Science News article “The next champs of green chemistry.”

Dissect a scientific argument

These discussion prompts ask students to evaluate a scientific argument using the claim, evidence, reasoning model.

Fungal threats on the rise?

Students will answer questions based on the Science News article “Climate change may raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans. One species is already a threat.”